Describe how the relationship between citizens and the state has changed over the course of history.
The history of interaction between the state and society has gone through a number of stages. In traditional societies (caste, estate) (before the emergence of civil society) in the overwhelming majority of countries there were absolutist-monarchist regimes. State power, by means of direct coercion or with the help of the rules of the estate system, strictly regulated the life of individuals. The state, represented by the monarch, granted certain rights and privileges to some estates, while depriving others of everything, retaining responsibilities.
The transition from a traditional (in particular, feudal) society to a civil, basically bourgeois, meant the emergence of a citizen as an independent social and political subject with inalienable rights and obligations. The development of horizontal powerless social ties arising between autonomous associations of citizens ran into opposition from the centralized state. The state was forced not only to reckon with the associations of citizens that had arisen, but also to take the path of legal regulation of its relations with the population, to significantly rebuild its own power structures
However, not in all countries the conflict between the nascent civil society and the state was resolved by establishing the constitutional and legal principles of their relationship. In a number of cases, it resulted in clashes between the parliament as a body of popular representation and the royal power over their political role and scope of powers.
Constitutionalism as a regime of relations between the state and civil society was formed in the process of long evolution and had a variety of specific forms of manifestation. According to the classical legal definition, constitutionalism (like parliamentarism, or absolutism) is a legal principle and a specific form of government.
Constitutionalism is a form of the rule of law, where the relationship between the state and civil society is governed by legal norms. Constitutionalism is opposed to absolutism. Absolutism is a form of state in which all power is concentrated in the monarch.
Later, the restrictions on the absolute power of the monarchs were associated with the separation of powers – legislative (belonging to parliament) and executive (entrusted to the government), the allocation of their competence. The nature of the relationship between the representatives of the people (parliament) and the government (executive branch) depends on the dominance in the mechanism of power of one of two principles – parliamentarism or constitutionalism.
Parliamentarianism means the dependence of the government on the decisions of the parliament, while constitutionalism implies the independence of the government from the will of the parliament.
An example of such a distribution of power is the system of ministerial government under a constitutional monarchy. In this case, for a specific direction of policy, its implementation is the responsibility of the minister appointed by the monarch and responsible to him. Formally, the legal side of constitutionalism means the presence in society of the basic law of the state (constitution), which determines the representation of the people, the division and scope of powers of different branches of government and guarantees of the rights of citizens. At the same time, the right is recognized as mandatory for both rulers and ruled. The rule of law over arbitrary decisions of the ruling parties is ensured by the separation of powers, the high position of the legislative branch, its dependence (through the electoral mechanism) on the people, the nation, as well as an equal and accessible court for all citizens. The Constitution, as the basic law, becomes an agreement between society and the state on the delimitation of the spheres of their activity: civil society is the sphere of individual freedoms and private interests, and the state is the sphere of public authority and common interests.